Note: I am not Stephenie Meyer nor do I own the Twilight series.
Hi everyone! I got a random inspiration for writing this story after reading Boston Jane, a book about a girl getting married in the 1800s.
I am not sure if I will continue this story or not. Reviews will determine that. I really hope to hear from you guys. Please let me know what you think!
I rolled over on my twin mattress, desperately trying to ignore the unpleasant, shrill voice calling my name from below. Surely if I forced myself into more pleasant thoughts, the annoyingly real voice would disappear into thin air?
I groaned, knowing all along that the voice had been real. But a lady needed her beauty sleep. Surely Marie, a working lady, nonetheless, would understand that?
Marie's voice sounded from closer this time. Although Marie may have had many becoming qualities, patience certainly was not one of them. Nor tact. I heard the stairs creak from the pressure of her loud, impolite barge up the steps. Marie threw door to the second floor hallway open, the knob carelessly banging the wall. Mother would not appreciate the chipped paint on the newly coated walls and, if my luck continued, would undoubtedly blame me for the damage.
My eyelids flew open as I heaved myself off the bed, stumbling for a moment. I clutched my vanity mirror's dresser for balance, trying to ease the uncontrolled whirling of my mind, a result of my sudden morning wakeup.
All too soon, the door to my room visibly vibrated from the annoying knocks—or, more accurately, hits—emitted from the other side. "Miss Swan! Your mother requests your presence in the parlor immediately!"
The indecent, nasal accent, a trademark of Marie's years in France, somehow lessened the formality of her urgent words. I smirked, remembering the French nicknames she used to call me as a child.
"Petit chaton!" She sang, her thin, blonde hair blowing in wisps around her face as she grabbed my elbow, leading me from our local playground. "You must not allow yourself to get dirty, miss! Ce n'est pas bien…" She chided, notoriously slipping into French when agitated.
"Ah, mad-e-moi-selle." I retorted in an English accent, annunciating every part of the word to try to pronounce it correctly. My tongue felt thick and inert as the unfamiliar French vowels slipped out of my mouth. "Je peux jouer dans la…" I trailed off, inwardly scolding myself for forgetting the equivalent to 'playground' in French.
My gracious efforts at speaking French remained unacknowledged by Marie's dismissive laugh, and a slight wave of her hand. "Madame Swan," She began, her voice sounding twice as melodious as she spoke in her native tongue. "Tu ne peut pas parler francaise. Your French is as awful as the dress Sylvie Netter wore the other day." A naughty smirk shone on her face, reminding me of mother's chiding to not speak ill of others, for it was unladylike. But I could not prevent the grin from spreading on my face as I remembered Sylvie Netter's dreadful ensemble from the previous day.
Today, of course, my French was another story. My studies at Knightley's Academy for Girls was certainly paying off—my French was 'simply superb,' as quoted by my French instructor.
The relentless banging at my door quickly brought me back to reality, reminding me of Marie's annoying presence outside my room, and the request of my presence in the parlor. I did not know why mother bothered with such civilities—surely it was more accurate to say demand rather than request?
I shook my head, banishing the useless, irrelevant thoughts from my mind. "A lady must never busy herself with other's business," I remembered from Chapter 13 of A Lady's Presence in the Household, a course I was taking at Knightley's.
I parted the silky, Japanese curtains—a treasured souvenir of my only visit abroad—as I opened the only window in my room, basking in the restricted sunlight that I so rarely saw. I frowned, remembering that a 'lady's cheeks must always look pale and sunken, as if she were on the verge of fainting.' That did not exactly coexist with my fervent desire to play in the sun. A lady must never play, either, I reminded myself, embarrassed to have even considered the notion.
In one brisk movement, I unzipped my white nightgown and stepped into my thin, wispy under dress—the only piece of comfortable clothing I owned. "Marie?" I called, allowing her entrance to my room.
She knowingly took her place behind me as I stepped into my—gulp—corset. I studiously ignored the sharp, searing stabs of pain along my torso as Marie tightly secured the corset that would surely crush my lungs.
Marie's nimble hands helped me into the rest of my clothes—a padded skirt for support, a pair of stockings to prevent chafing, and, of course, my frilly dress reserved for Sunday Tea in the Parlor only. I stubbornly refused to wear the ridiculous, intricately detailed dress for any other occasion, despite its hold as the 'current fashion,' or how slender my waist may have looked in it.
I took short, quick gasps of breath through my teeth as I tittered across the hallway, ignoring the burning in my lungs from a lack of oxygen.
Sunday Tea in the Parlor was always an event to detest, though my mother strongly disagreed. Every Sunday morning, Marie would wake me up earlier than usual—much to my dismay—and proceed to help me into my 'loveliest' dress, corset included. Then, Marie would escort me to the parlor, where my mother and I would usually sip tea with various influential individuals from the area.
Occasionally mother would slip a suitor in, without a word of it to me. In my opinion, such behavior should be restricted—mother knew how I detested being assessed by men from the area, like a horse being ascertained for its value.
As silly and idealistic as it might sound, I did not want to marry a suitor, but rather, a man who loved me for the person I was. At the visit of every suitor, I never failed to fidget uncomfortably as the men's eyes lingered on my waist—as if the size of my waist would determine the outcome of our marriage!
I sighed, frustrated. Men were never to be trusted. The lessons I learned from Marie were priceless—I did not know what would have become of me if I had been complacent with my mother and married the first acceptable suitor to desire me. Marie was young enough. She was not bad-looking, either—a little rouge on her cheeks, curls in her blonde hair, and she would look lovely enough to be sought after.
But, as always, there is a reason for everything. Why was Marie working here, in our home, as a maid, when she could have aspired to have a much brighter future? The answer? Men, their false promises, and their actions.
"Good morning, mother." I announced breathlessly upon entering the parlor. The effects of the corset still wore on me as I quickly took my seat at the tea table, politely nodding to a gentleman sitting across from me.
The man was rather attractive. He had the look of a boy on his face—surely he was no older than I?—that was offset by his broad shoulders and manly physique. His face dimpled as he shot me a winning smile—winning, in any other circumstance, but not enough for me.
"Hello, Miss Swan, my name is Daniel." He introduced himself.
A smile played on the edges of my lips as I took him in. Ah, I thought, almost amused. Here comes the next contestant.
My eyes glinted as I took my prepared myself to react—like a lion, waiting in the bushes, to pounce on an unsuspecting deer. I grinned wickedly as I beamed at him, turning on the full force of my charm.
"Why, hello, Daniel. I don't believe we've met. My name is Bella Swan. You may call me by my first name, if you'd prefer."
I shot my mother a glance I hoped looked menacing, though a smile stayed plastered on my face for the sake of our guest. I knew the last comment would irk my mother—she was always piqued by my casual attitude towards the annoyingly long line of suitors.
In fact, I was so dead-set against the notion of marrying a suitor simply for convenience—financial and whatnot—that I made this into a game. My game. A game so infused with charm, smiles, and desirability on my part that any man or suitor silly enough to play stood no chance against me.
I leaned back against the couch, my posture exuding confidence and charisma. Though, by the wicked shine in my eyes, I was sure my mother could tell just what I was up to.
Though that did not stop her from introducing me to every suitor, it seemed, residing in Chicago, every Sunday during tea.
Hi guys! I hope you liked that. This beginning chapter was mainly to introduce the 20th century Bella, and her lifestyle before meeting Edward.
Don't get impatient! I promise Edward will enter the story soon, and Bella and Edward's meeting will be well worth the wait.
Let me know what you think of the story idea/writing so far. Should I continue? Are there any specific scenes or characters you'd like to be included?
Leave me a review! Thanks!